William C. Havard (essay date spring 1964)
SOURCE: Havard, William C. “Mark Twain and the Political Ambivalence of Southwestern Humor.” Mississippi Quarterly 17, no. 2 (spring 1964): 95-106.
[In the following essay, Havard argues that “Mark Twain was the first and probably the sole authentic genius to rise to the level of literary artistry directly out of the broad framework of frontier humor” but notes that his humor prevented his being taken seriously on political social matters.]
The interpretation of the humorist literary tradition of the Old Southwest has been almost as various as the critics who have interpreted it and nearly as broad as the range of the subject itself. And it is appropriate that...
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